NEW YORK, N.Y. (WNBC) – Work started on the site that will make room for a massive Amazon warehouse, the Times Herald-Record reports.
Nearly 190 acres of trees at the intersection of routes 17K and 747 in Montgomery, Orange County, started to be cut down on Tuesday to make room for the facility after the project was given a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement Friday, according to the report.
The 1,010,880-square-foot warehouse — slated to be the largest building in the county — will be one of Amazon’s more than 75 fulfillment centers across the United States.
The Times Herald-Record reports that the warehouse will create more than 800 jobs within two years of completion and 300 construction jobs.
After the $75.2 million project had been given the go-ahead by the Montgomery Town Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board, the town’s Industrial Development Agency granted a $20.5 million tax break on Friday with a 5-2 vote, according to the report.
The two no votes were by IDA board members Stephen Rainaldi and Robert Santo. Rainaldi and Santo previously voted against granting the tax break to the project’s original developer last year, the Times Herald-Record reports, adding that Matthew Stoddard, who the town’s Board of Ethics ruled as having a conflict of interest, voted in favor once again.
Under the 15-year agreement, about $2.7 million PILOT payment would be assessed during the first five years. Over the 15 years, the project would contribute nearly $26 million in PILOT payments, according to the Times Herald-Report.
The publication reports that IDA Chairman Jeffrey Crist said the PILOT agreement helps promote, attract and develop, not only the general prosperity, but the economic welfare of the area.
The director of Orange County Economic Development, Bill Fioravanti, shared similar sentiments, according to the report.
However, not everyone is pleased with the decision, since the massive warehouse has raised concerns over traffic, possible water contamination and stormwater runoff.
One of the residents who is unpleased with Friday’s vote, according to the report, is Don Berger, founder of a 500-member citizens group Residents Protecting Montgomery.
Berger said it was hard to understand why IDA board members allowed a large company like Amazon to get a tax break from town residents, the Times Herald-Record report.
Meanwhile, local business owner Barbara Lerner, whose property is next to the Amazon site, also disapproved of the final vote, according to the report.
The project is currently facing two lawsuits. One of the lawsuits claims that part of the warehouse is not properly zoned and the other alleges that the developer misrepresented the character of the area.